This week in social media news, a new study breaks down media use by tweens and teens, YouTube starts streaming free, ad-supported TV shows, Meta’s new partnership with Vntana will enable brands to run 3D ads on Facebook and Instagram, and more.

Study Finds Watching Online Videos Is Favorite Media Activity Among 8- To 18-Year-Olds

Media use among tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) and teens (13- to 18-year-olds) has grown faster since the start of the pandemic than it has over the four years prior to the pandemic. 

That’s according to a new study from Common Sense Media that compares the frequency, enjoyment and time spent engaging in various types of media activities among 8- to 18-year-olds in 2019 – prior to the virus arriving in the US – and fall 2021 as most schools around the country reopened for in-person learning.

Why it matters: From 2015 to 2019, media use for tweens grew only 3 percent, and

for teens, 11 percent. But from 2019 to 2021 alone, media use grew by 17 percent for tweens and teens.

A new behavior the study observed is the rising use of social media among 8- to 12-year-olds. Thirty-eight percent of tweens have used social media (up from 31 percent in 2019) and 18 percent now say they use social media every day – up 5 percentage points since 2019.

Tweens’ time spent using social media is also up eight minutes a day among this age group (from 10 to 18 minutes a day, on average), with the top five social media sites tweens have ever used being Snapchat (13 percent), Instagram (10 percent), Facebook (8 percent), Discord (5 percent) and Pinterest (4 percent).

The details: According to the report, among tweens the top two media activities engaged in most frequently are watching television (65 percent do so daily) and

watching online videos (64 percent). Among teens, the two most common activities are watching online videos (77 percent do so daily) and using social media (62 percent). Forty-nine percent of teens watch television daily as well.

In general, enjoyment of media is highest among tweens and goes down among teens, with two exceptions: online videos, which appeal across age groups, and social media, which most tweens don’t use.

Some more noteworthy findings from the report include:

  • If forced to choose, 32 percent of teens say YouTube is the site that they wouldn’t want to live without, with Snapchat coming second at 20 percent.
  • Watching online videos is the favorite media activity among 8- to 18-year-olds, appealing to both tweens and teens, boys and girls, and across racial/ethnic groups and income levels.
  • Teens now spend nearly an hour and a half a day using social media but have conflicted feelings about the medium. Nearly half (46 percent) of all 13- to 18-year-olds have listened to podcasts, and one in five say they do so at least once a week.
  • Teens’ enjoyment of social media went down since 2019 (from 41 percent to 34 percent who enjoy it “a lot”), as did their enjoyment of television (down from 33 percent to 27 percent).
  • The proportion of tweens who say they enjoy playing mobile games decreased by 10 percentage points to 45 percent, while the proportion who enjoy using social media a lot increased by 4 percentage points to 12 percent.
  • While 94 percent of children in higher-income households and 91 percent of white children have at least one computer in the home, only 67 percent of those in lower-income households and 81 percent and 83 percent of black and Hispanic/Latino children, respectively, do.
  • There were no substantial changes in the number of households with at least one computer, tablet, or video game player over the past two years.
  • Twenty-six percent of tweens’ TV viewing and 35 percent of teens’ viewing happens on devices like a smartphone, table, or computer.
  • Watching videos online is incredibly popular across demographic groups, but especially among Hispanic/Latinos and young people from lower-income households, who are more likely to say they watch online videos “every day,” and who watch for longer periods of time.
  • In general, tweens enjoy playing games more than teens, especially mobile gaming (45 percent of tweens enjoy playing mobile games a lot, compared with 28 percent of teens). On average, tweens spend 1:27 a day gaming and teens spend 1:46.
  • Thirty-eight percent of tweens and 84 percent of teens use social media, including 18 percent of tweens and 62 percent of teens who say they use it every day.
  • Twenty-two percent of tweens and 27 percent of teens have ever tried virtual reality, with boys and young people from lower-income families more likely to do so than girls or young people from middle- or higher-income households
  • About one in 10 tweens and nearly one in five teens say they never read anything other than what is required for school or homework.

YouTube Starts Streaming Free, Ad-Supported TV Shows

For the first time, US viewers can stream full seasons of TV shows on YouTube for free with ads, the company announced. To complement the offering, the platform debuted new, streamlined navigation and immersive banner art.

Why it matters: The addition of ad-supported TV shows marks an expansion of YouTube’s current offering, as it already currently has over 1,500 movies from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, Warner Bros., Lionsgate and more.

It’s also a matter of keeping its current user base engaged. According to Nielsen, YouTube reached over 135 million people on connected TVs in the US in December 2021.

The details: US users can access YouTube’s available movies and shows and up to 100 new titles each week via desktop, mobile and most connected TVs through the YouTube on TV app.

TikTok Was The Top App By Consumer Spend In Q1

According to’s (formerly App Annie) Q1 2022 Apps Index, Instagram, TikTok and Meta saw the most app downloads worldwide in Q1 while consumers spent the most on TikTok, YouTube and Tinder during the same period.

Why it matters: The data revealed Q1 2022 to be the biggest first quarter ever for consumer spend at $33 billion. Apple users still spend the most – 65 percent of the quarter’s total $33 billion. The figure was even higher among non-gaming apps – 73 percent of spend on iOS versus Google Play, as in-app subscriptions moved into the mainstream. 

Overall, forecast consumer spend on apps to have grown over 40 percent in two years, with the total for iOS up nearly 42 percent from Q1 2020, and 44 percent up for Google Play.

The details: Google Play drove the majority of the quarter’s app downloads, with Android users installing 28.5 billion of the 37 billion apps in the period — a 16 percent rise year-over-year.

iOS dominated the consumer spend chart  reverse is true when it comes to consumer spend, consistent with the previous five quarters, according to For every $1 spent by users on Google Play, users on iOS spend $1.80. The balance tips even further in non-gaming apps – iOS accounts for 73 percent of consumer spend.

In the iOS space, consumer spend in medical apps is set to grow 23 percent quarter-over-quarter

In terms of spend and active users, TikTok reigns supreme. The app was number one for spend and average monthly active users, while its sister app CapCut (which lets users edit their videos) landed number seven for breakout active users.

As for monthly active users, in Q1 2022 Snapchat moved from number seven to five 7 to in the download chart from the previous quarter. Shopee moved up from 10 in terms of downloads to seven.

Meta Teams With Vntana So Brands Can Run 3D Ads On Facebook, Instagram

Thanks to Meta’s new partnership with Vntana, brands will be able to upload 3D models of their products to Facebook and Instagram and easily convert them into ads, reports Reuters.

Why it matters: The partnership brings Meta one step closer to realizing its goal of creating the metaverse, a project it said could take up to a decade to complete. 

It also gives brands an incentive to start strategizing on how their stories and products come to life in the metaverse and whether it makes sense to invest in engaging users there.

Meta previously teamed with Modiface and PerfectCorp to help beauty and cosmetic brands run 3D and augmented reality ads.

The details: Facebook and Instagram users who see a 3D ad while browsing on desktop or mobile can interact with an image of a handbag, for example, and move it around to view the item from all angles.

According to Vntana chief executive Ashley Crowder, before Vntana’s integration with Meta, advertisers would need to reformat 3D files to be compatible with Meta’s ad systems. Now, brands can use Vntana to easily upload and convert the files into ads without technical expertise in working with 3D images.